Japan's head speed skating coach tests positive for COVID-19

Posted at 3:53 AM, Feb 03, 2022

Japan's speed skating coach Johan de Wit said on Thursday he was in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 at the Winter Olympics and that he would have to support the country's medal hopefuls "from a distance."

De Wit became head coach of Japan's speed skating team in 2015, and he coaches medal contenders Miho Takagi as well as the women's pursuit team.

He attended the team's training session on Monday but did not make an appearance at the ice oval for the team’s practice on Wednesday, Japan's broadcaster NHK reported.

"After receiving a positive PCR test I have been brought to an isolation hotel," de Wit tweeted on Thursday, just two days before the competition starts.

"I feel really sorry for the skaters and staff that are preparing for their Olympic competitions. I will support them from a distance and am convinced that they will fully experience the Olympics."

Asked how the team was managing without de Wit, Chef de Mission Hidehito Ito downplayed the Dutchman's absence at a news conference on Thursday.

"There are many coaches and the athletes have their own coaches too. They are handling the situation," he said.

SEE MORE: How to watch Speed Skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics on NBC and Peacock